Howard T. Odum
Dr. Odum reviews his family history (page 1-2) and describes family influences on his perception
of ecology (page 3-7). He recalls college experiences, fraternity life, and later his participation in
the Air Force Meteorology Program (page 8) He then remembers graduate school at Yale,
specifically his development of a new approach to ecology (page 11-12).
Dr. Odum addresses the concept of the maximum empower principle (page 13-15). He discusses
his competition and collaboration with his brother Gene (page 16-19). On pages 20-22, he
mentions research grants that allowed him to study phosphorous levels in Florida's lakes. Dr.
Odum reviews the American Society of Ecological Engineering and the national wetlands
conference (page 23-24), and he analyzes wetlands construction (page 33-34).
On pages 25-28, he details the development of the environmental curriculum at the University of
Florida. The concepts of emergy and emdollars are explained (page 29-32). He contrasts emergy
valuation with the more conventional method of market valuation (page 35, 40) and compares
pulsing in natural systems to pulsing in social systems (page 36). Bob Costanza, editor of the
Journal of Ecological Economics and former student of Dr. Odum, is said to have rejected
emergy articles (page 37-39).
Dr. Odum relates public policy and emergy (page 41-42) and mentions his participation in
growth conferences sponsored by Florida governors Reubin Askew and Bob Graham (page 43).
He reviews Florida's emergy model (44-45) and explains the limitations of the fuel supply in
Florida (46-47). He talks about the development of liquified natural gas (page 48). Dr. Odum
evaluates nuclear plant cooling towers (49-51), Walt Disney World (51), the cross-Florida barge
canal (52), and the environment of southwest Florida (53-58) especially its mangroves and
Melaluccas (61-64). He assesses the aquatic plant invasion in the Everglades (page 59-60) and
the deterioration of the coral reefs near the Florida Keys (page 67-69).
Dr. Odum talks about the difficulty of getting public support for his new concepts (page 65-66,
114) Often his former students are forced to abandon his ideas and make compromises, for
example those working in government agencies (page 70, 88-89). He explains that the media
often manipulates environmental reporting, as in the North Carolina's pfisteria outbreak and
Biosphere 2 stories (page 71-75).
On pages 76-78, he identifies the impact of the South Florida Water Management District. He
examines water issues relating to Martin County, the Suwannee River, and the Florida Bay
ecosystem (page 79-82). Additionally, he looks at the environmental impact of paper mills on
Florida rivers (page 83-87).
Dr. Odum suggests that technology is incomplete in the absence of good environmental design
(page 90-91). He argues the need for genetic diversity in agriculture (92-94), deals with issues
relating to mosquito-borne diseases (95), and discusses the potential of using wetlands to remove
heavy metals from water (96). He cites the automobile as our worst environmental mistake and
claims ethanol is an impossible substitute for fuel (page 97-100). On pages 101-105, Dr. Odum
makes predictions for the future based on his book The Prosperous Way Down. He finds the
concepts of emergy have meaning in historical context (page 106). He assures the public that
using less energy does not have to be a pessimistic concept (page 107-108). However, a
paradigm shift will occur before this can happen (page 111-113).
Finally, Dr. Odum analyzes the principles of urban infill and density (109-110), cloning, public
health, and genetic engineering (115-116). He explains emergy by comparing copies of library
books to individual endangered species (page 119-120). His awards and funding are mentioned
on pages 117-118.
HOWARD T. ODUM E-mail: email@example.com
Graduate Research Professor, Emeritus
Environmental Engineering Sciences, and Center for Environmental Policy
424 Black Hall, P.O. Box 116450
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611-6450
Phone: 352-392-0847; Fax: 352-392-3076
Home Phone: 352-378-8172; Home Fax: 352-373-5808
Born: Sept. 1, 1924, Durham, NC, USA; Married: Virginia.Wood Odum (died 1972); Two
children: Frances Ann Odum, Mary Louise Odum Logan; Remarried 1973: Elisabeth Chase
1941-43, 1946-47 University of North Carolina, AB Zoology
1943-44 Air Force Meterology, and Institute of Tropical Meteorology, San Juan, P.R.
1951 Yale University, Ph.D. Zoology (Biogeochemistry of Strontium)
1945-46 Meteorology Instructor, AAF Tropical Weather School, Howard Field, Panama
1950-54 Assistant Professor, Biology, Univ. of Florida
1954-56 Assistant Professor, Duke Univ. and Duke Marine Lab, Eniwetok Marine Lab
1956-63 Director, Institute of Marine Science, Port Aransas (Univ. of Texas, Austin)
1963-66 Chief Scientist, Terrestrial Ecology, Puerto Rico Nuclear Center, Univ. of P.R.
1966-70 Professor of Botany, Zoology, & Env. Sci & Eng. Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
1970-96 Graduate Research Professor, Environmental Eng. Sciences, Univ. of Fla.
1973-91 Director, Center for Wetlands, Univ. of Florida.
1978 Erskine Fellow, Univ. of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
1983 Research Associate, Int. Inst. for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria
1985-86 Visiting Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Univ. of Texas, Austin
1991- Director, Center for Environmental Policy, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville
Elected member, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Amer. Meteorol. Soc. (Prof member);
AAAS (fellow); President 1992, Int. Soc. for the Systems Sciences
Phi Beta Kappa; George Mercer Award; Prize, Institute de la Vie 1976; Distinguished Service,
Univ. of North Carolina; Distinguished Service, Amer. Inst. Biol. Sci; Univ. of Florida
Presidential Medal; Distinguished Service, Univ. of Puerto Rico; Crafoord Prize, Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences; Honorary Editor of Ecological Engineering J.; Honorary Doctor of
Science, Ohio State University 1996; Assoc. editor, Energy
300+ Publications; Books:
1954, 1964. (in collaboration with Eugene P. Odum) Fundamentals of Ecology. Saunders.
1969. (with B.J. Copeland, and E.A. McMahan) Coastal Ecological Systems of the United
States. FWPCA and Conservation Foundation, Wash. D.C., 1974. 4 Vols., 1300 pp.
1970. ed. (with R.F. Pigeon) A Tropical Rain Forest. Division of Technical Information,
Atomic Energy Commission, Wash. D.C., 1600 pp.
1971. Environment, Power and Society. John Wiley, NY, 336 pp.
1976, 1981. (with E.C. Odum) Energy Basis for Man and Nature. McGraw Hill, NY, 331 pp.
1983. Systems Ecology: An Introduction. John Wiley, NY, 644 pp.
1985. ed. (with K. Ewel) Cypress Swamps. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 472 pp.
1993. (with R.J. Beyers) Ecological Microcosms. Springer-Verlag, NY, 555 pp.
1994. Ecological and General Systems (reprint of Sys. Ecol.), Univ. Press of Colorado, 644 pp.
1996. Environmental Accounting: Emergy and Decision Making. John Wiley, NY, 370 pp.
1998. (with E.C. Odum, and M.T. Brown) Environment and Society in Florida. Lewis Pubi.,
Boca Raton, FL, 449 pp.
1999. ed. (with B.D.V. Marino) Biosphere 2, Research Past and Present. Elsevier, 358 pp.
2000. (with E.C. Odum) Modeling for All Scales, Intro. to Simulation. Academic Press, CA,
2000. (with 8 coauthors) Heavy Metals and Wetlands. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 325 pp.
2001. (with E.C. Odum) A Prosperous Way Down. Univ. Press of Colorado, Boulder, 323 pp.
Research and Teaching Specialties: Systems ecology, biogeochemistry, ecological economics,
ecological engineering, environmental valuation and policy.